Show #21: 4/24/87

Billings Library (formerly Student Center)

http://www.phishtracks.com/shows/1987-04-24

 Friday, 04/24/1987
Billings Lounge, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Set 1: Golgi Apparatus, AC/DC Bag -> Possum, Fluffhead, You Enjoy Myself -> Dave’s Energy Guide, Punch Me in the Eye[1] > Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues, I Am Hydrogen -> Who Do? We Do![1], David Bowie, Dear Mrs. Reagan > Slave to the Traffic Light

[1] First known performance.

This show celebrated the end of Earth Week at UVM as pointed out in the introduction at the beginning of the recording. Phish playing Earth Week had started to become almost tradition at this point. The building above is Billings Library, one of the signature buildings on UVM’s campus. It was the school’s original library until the construction of Bailey-Howe Library. Upon that, it became the student center until 2007 when the new Davis Center was completed. It will now house special collections. The show took place in the lounge, which makes up the round part shown above. I guess this makes this the first “Round Room” show.

The show opens with “Golgi Apparatus”. While late this song has been pushed aside, this sis a strong version. The key to this show is you can hear Phish moving towards their own sound and sound less and less like their influences. Trey asks Paul how it sounds but there’s no further banter. “AC/DC Bag” launches with it’s unique intro still in tact. I really dig Mike’s bass line at about 3:40 in. It has a neat little jam at the end that teases something but I can’t put my finger on it but it rolls so nicely into “Possum”, which also boogies hard. I’d consider this pairing a must-listen. A fun, tight “Fluffhead” follows but nothing extraordinary. “You Enjoy Myself” is not as well-played as 3/23/87 but it does have an interesting segue into “Dave’s Energy Guide”, with the ending vocals being repeated over the “DEG” pattern.

We then get the only ever performance of “Punch Me in the Eye”. Not to be confused with the popular “Punch You in the Eye”, it does have some similar lyrics but the music structure is completely different. Trey asks everybody to sing along with the falsetto vocals. The band giggles through, indicating the silliness of it all to start. However, the jam in the middle is quite intense and worth a listen. It’s a very interesting lost composed piece. Apparently, parts of it ended up in “Divided Sky” but I don’t hear the similarity. “Alumni>Jimmy Page>Alumni” comes up next. The only highlight being some “Possum” teases right before it goes into “Jimmy Page”. “I Am Hydrogen” comes back which is nice to give the crowd a little break. It’s also interesting because it segues into “Who Do? We Do!” “Who Do? We Do!” eventually becomes part of “Fluffhead” but in this setting it’s a gorgeous companion piece with some start/stop jamming. When the start/stop begins is when you’ll hear the part thats most recognizable. It’s typically played when Mike and Trey jump during “Fluffhead”. Trey introduces “David Bowie” next. This “Bowie”‘s a decent early Bowie. It didn’t blow my hair back but I was engaged. Snoozer “Dear Mrs. Reagan” comes out next. If I was at a show in the 80s, probably would have been my piss break song for real. The fans dig it though. The set closes with “Slave to the Traffic Light”. It’s pretty but still lacks the right peak. They’ll nail it one of these days. Next, one of my favorite early shows and probably the oldest show I had for a while until I discovered 12/1/84. You don’t want to miss this.

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